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Denys Lasdun’s ‘glass castle’ is refused listing

Milton Gate

Source:  Brookfield Properties

Historic England has turned down a request to list a ‘glass castle’ office designed by National Theatre architect Denys Lasdun

The heritage body announced its decision in response to a request from the Twentieth Century Society to protect the Royal Gold Medal winner’s 1988 Milton Gate in Chiswell Street, City of London, one of Lasdun’s last buildings.

The society said the office – referred to as a ‘glass castle’ because of its distinctive shape and green-glass façade – was sold for £215 million in 2021 and was at risk of being lost to redevelopment.

A consultation website recently launched by developer Brookfield Properties does not say what will happen to the Lasdun building, but says it plans to ‘explore opportunities to reposition Milton Gate for a greener future’. It is understood MCM Architects is working with Brookfield Properties on proposals.


The Twentieth Century Society warned that without listing, it was likely that a certificate of immunity from listing would be issued – a move Historic England confirmed it had recommended.

‘We have assessed Milton Gate in the City of London for listing and recommended to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that the building should not be listed and that a certificate of immunity (COI) should be issued for the building,’ said a spokesperson.

‘As one of the last works by Denys Lasdun, which was designed in a new style for him, the building has interest, but it was a style which had been used more successfully elsewhere.’

The heritage body added that the original interior atrium and entrance had changed ‘significantly’ since the building was completed in the 80s.

‘Externally, the roof and western terraces have been remodelled, skylights have been inserted into the roofs of the seventh floor and the sloping lower body of the circular plant tow has been lost to view,’ it added.


Milton Gate is among the final London projects designed by Lasdun (1914-2001) and is known for its green glass façade – a departure from the concrete used in his better known works.

Those include the Grade II-listed National Theatre on London's Southbank, the Royal College of Physicians building in Regent's Park and the ziggurat-shaped student residences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

The Twentieth Century Society said Milton Gate was among ‘scores of other extremely high-quality commercial buildings from the 80s and 90s that are approaching the age where they’re eligible for listing, yet are instead facing demolition or significant loss.

‘The City of London has talked a good game recently on adopting retrofirst policies but the reality seems very much at odds with the rhetoric’ it said.

As the AJ reported in May, the City of London is looking to adopt a ‘retrofit first’ policy for its future City Plan. Current planning guidance in the Square Mile meanwhile asks developers and architects to show alternatives to demolition as part of its Carbon Options Guidance Planning Advice Note.

Brookfield Properties was contacted for comment.

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